June 27, 2015 – The Aboriginal Liaison Unit is looking for sponsors to bring 10 Aboriginal youth to Jiaozou, China, to represent the Aboriginal community and the City of Thunder Bay and Canada during opening ceremonies at an international Tai Chi competition and festival in August.

“The Aboriginal Liaison Unit was approached by Peng You, a resident of Thunder Bay and native of China, about coordinating a small delegation of six dancers and four drummers, who would share their culture with the people of Jiaozou,” said Ann Magiskan, Aboriginal Liaison. “This would be a wonderful experience for our Aboriginal youth – this Tai Chi festival is attended by representatives of 30 countries.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a travel budget to bring this delegation and are looking to the local community to help achieve this goal.”

Fort William First Nation is sponsoring one of its residents, Bess Ann LeGarde, who will be travelling to Jiaozou with the delegation.

“We feel this is a wonderful opportunity to increase the profile of indigenous peoples of Canada by bringing them to opening ceremonies at such a prestigious event,” said Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins.

The delegation is expected to depart Thunder Bay on Aug. 16, 2015 and spend a few days in Beijing. The delegation will then arrive in Jiaozuo for the festival and then return on Aug. 22 or 23.

Jiaozou is not one of Thunder Bay’s official Sister Cities, but the two communities have been working toward establishing a formal relationship.

The City of Thunder Bay is looking to raise $3,500 per delegate, which will cover their travel visa, air and ground transportation, accommodations and meals.  A further $25,000 must be raised by July 17 if the City is to meet its objective and send the Aboriginal youth to Jiaozou. Those interested in helping to sponsor a delegate can contact the Aboriginal Liaison office at the City of Thunder Bay.

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Contact:  Ann Magiskan, Aboriginal Liaison, 620-0072 or email amagiskan@thunderbay.ca